CHICAGO (CBS) — Ald. Edward Burke (14th), the longest-serving and most influential member of the Chicago City Council, confirmed Tuesday he is undergoing surgery for prostate cancer this week.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Burke was at City Hall on Tuesday to talk to reporters about an issue of public health – urging Congress to ban routine use of antibiotics on livestock – before reading a prepared statement about his prostate cancer diagnosis.

“When I scheduled this, I didn’t believe I was going to be talking to you about my own personal health issue, but several weeks ago during a routine physical, it was discovered that my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) level was elevated,” Burke said. “Further tests revealed that, like hundreds of thousands of other men, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.”

The alderman, who appeared in good shape on Tuesday at City Hall, did not specify what type of surgical procedure would be performed.

“I’ve opted for a surgical treatment which will be performed on Thursday. With faith in God and trust in my doctors, I’m confident of full recovery,” he said. “After a period of recuperation, I expect to be able to return to a normal schedule. My family and I are grateful for the many messages of support and prayer from friends and well-wishers.”

Burke, 70, said he expects to resume a normal work schedule soon after the procedure.

Considered the dean of the City Council, Burke has been an alderman since 1969, and chairs the council’s powerful Finance Committee. He also served as a Chicago police officer for several years before going into politics. He’s also a partner in a small Loop law firm that specializes in helping clients get property tax cuts and refunds.

Burke asked reporters to respect his privacy, and took no questions before heading off to chair a Finance Committee meeting.

The alderman said his diagnosis should serve as an example of why men should have regular prostate exams after reaching middle age. Doctors commonly recommend men with an average risk of prostate cancer have their first prostate exam when they are about 50 years old. Those at higher risk — African-American men, or those who have a close relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65 — should have their first exam at around 40 to 45 years of age.

–CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

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